... and meanwhile I was thinking that if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn't that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun, let alone the author of my fate?
I've got a theory about uniforms. I think they design them so that you become, like, a nonperson, so that you're not Daisy Ramirez, a Human Being, but instead a thing that brings people pizza and exchanges their tickets for plastic dinosaurs. It's like the uniform is designed to hide me.
I have these thoughts that Dr. Karen Singh calls "intrusives," but the first time she said it, I heard "invasives," which I like better, because, like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control.
And he was obviously a person. Like, what even makes you a person? He had a body and a soul and feelings, and he spoke a language, and he was an adult, and if he and Rey were in hot, hairy, communicative love, then let's just thank God that two consenting, sentient adults found each other in a dark and broken galaxy.
I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: it was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.
You're right that self isn't simple, Aza. Maybe it's not even singular. Self is a plurality, but pluralities can also be integrated, right? Think of a rainbow. It's one arc of light, but also seven differently colored arcs of light.
... now I was talking about parasite-infected bird feces, which was more or less the opposite of romance, but I couldn't stop myself, because I wanted him to understand that I felt like the fish, like my whole story was written by someone else.
I'd probably killed myself with sepsis because of some stupid childhood ritual that didn't even prove what I wanted it to prove, because what I wanted to know was unknowable, because there was no way to be sure about anything.
"I know you think you're poor or whatever, but you know nothing about being actually poor."
"Okay, I'll shut up about it," I said.
"You're so stuck in your own head," she continued. "It's like you genuinely can't think about anyone else." I felt like I was getting smaller.
He's, just... I guess at some point, you realize that whoever takes care of you is just a person, and that they have no superpowers and can't actually protect you from getting hurt. Which is one thing. But Noah is starting to understand that maybe the person he thought was a superhero turns out sort of to be the villain.
When my thoughts spiraled, I was in the spiral, and of it. And I wanted to tell him that the idea of being in a feeling gave language to something I couldn't describe before, created a form for it, but I couldn't figure out how to say any of that out loud.
His bacteria would be in me forever, eighty million of them, breeding and growing and joining my bacteria and producing God knows what.
Him: When you're on a Ferris wheel all anyone ever talks about is being on the Ferris wheel and the view from the Ferris wheel and whether the Ferris wheel is scary and how many more times it will go around. Dating is like that. Nobody who's doing it ever talks about anything else.
As I looked at his face looking at mine, I realized the light that made him visible to me came mostly from a cycle: Our screens were lighting each of us with light from the other's bedroom. I could only see him because he could see me.
When I was little, I knew monsters weren't, like, real. But I also knew I could be hurt by things that weren't real. I knew that made-up things mattered, and could kill you.
It's just, like, this isn't going to be some story where the poor, penniless girl gets rich and then realizes that truth matters more than money and establishes her heroism by going back to being the poor, penniless girl, okay?
It was saying that my bacteria were affecting my thinking--maybe not directly, but through the information they told my gut to send to my brain. Maybe you're not even thinking this thought. Maybe your thinking's infected.
... the stupidity of Ayala, Aza, and Holmesy and all my irreconcilable selves, my self-absorption, the filth in my gut, think about anything other than yourself you disgusting narcissist.
I would always be like this, always have this within me. There was no beating it. I would never slay the dragon, because the dragon was also me. My self and the disease were knotted together for life.
... I realized something Davis must have already known: Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.
I know that girl would go on, that she would grow up, have children and love them, that despite loving them she would get too sick to care for them, be hospitalized, get better, and then get sick again. I know a shrink would say, Write it down, how you got here.
So you would, and in writing it down you realize, love is not a tragedy or a failure, but a gift.